The Corner

The Luxury of Commissions

When my late father — then Private First Class Goldberg –  was stationed in Japan in the early 1950s, his commanding officer gave him one small piece of sage advice about how to get ahead in the army. “Goldberg,” he said, “It’s always better to be on the committee that says ‘This must never happen again.’”

I kept thinking about that yesterday as I listened to those guys preen about how they were here to make America right. I’m with Andy on the absurdity of this consensus and bipartisanship thing (I have a column in the LAT about it today, which will appear here tomorrow). By the standards and practices set up by Baker, the entire report represents the least objectionable ideas acceptable to the most unreasonable panelist. If Leon Panetta thought something was a bad idea, it got massaged until he liked it. If Ed Meese objected, it got massaged, or deleted, until he was happy. By what standard does a proposition become wiser or a greater model for the nation — — simply because ten people like it instead of nine? If the panel unanimously recommended that all cats in Iraq wear sweaters and that chickens be forced to dance the Mamba, would no one dare challenge the moral authority of their unanimity? 

If they had put Noam Chomsky on the ISG, would it have been better to have a 10-1 split or a unanimous report? By the gooey nonsense we heard yesterday, the report would have been better if Chomsky had agreed to everything in there, because that would represent “unity.”  

James Baker’s mandate, wasn’t to forge a consensus among the League of Extraordinary Pols, it was to come up with the best recommendations he could. Alas, mission creep set in early.  

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More